Stop trying so hard to follow all the “rules.” You can’t do it anyway. You aren’t made to be able, by sheer force of will, to do what is right. Stop beating yourself up for falling into the same trap over and over. There is a better way. I like to call it tap-root living. Like a dandelion keeps coming back over and over, so will your destructive tendencies until you stop trying to modify your behavior simply by plucking off the above-ground stems. Until you stop trying to look okay to the outside world, and start focusing your effort on the root of the issue, victory will be fleeting.
And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7
Let your roots go down into him. Sit in quiet stillness without an agenda, in a posture of worship with your mind, spirit, and body. Sink into the healing sanctuary of God’s presence. Let the Holy Spirit bring to your awareness any idols you are holding onto and ruthlessly cast them at the feet of Jesus to do with as he pleases. Feel the sweet release to be who you were made to be. Notice that over time you are changing without effort, because you are being transformed from the inside out. How could you have ever been distracted by that temptation, or why did you ever feel like you just had to have that thing, or what was so important about what that person thought of you? You will be mystified at your old thoughts because they are so far from where you are now – and you didn’t even try to change them. Instead, you became, and continue to become, a truer version of yourself the more you let your roots grow down into him. That is tap-root living.
Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. Colossians 2:8-10
Shame on all you who hold Christians captive with your lists of dos and don’ts. That is just high-sounding nonsense that holds no redemptive power. We can change how we appear to others, and we can even change our behavior for a season, making everyone who is watching think we’ve got it all together, but unless we are tap-root living, those changes are unsustainable. We may think if we just stick to this list of dos and don’ts we’ll be okay. Don’t buy into this and don’t listen to people who teach it. Changing our behavior will not bring us closer to God, but being closer to God will change our behavior.
I will even go so far as to say forget about all the habits and thoughts that hold you captive. Don’t even worry about them. Only focus on God. Find a way to enjoy God’s presence that is meaningful to you and be still and stop wriggling and striving. Get to the tap-root and all you need to flourish will follow.
You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires. Colossians 2:20-23